Woodland trap team prepares for upcoming of tournaments

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The Woodland High School trap team is vigorously preparing to attend a championship event in Texas this June. 

Coach Jason Hathaway said the students on the team recently competed at the Seattle Skeet and Trap Shotgun Challenge in Ravensdale, where they performed well. 

“They’re progressing well, and it seems like their scores keep going up and up,” Hathaway said. “The big thing for our kids is we have two trap clubs we shoot at, but there’s three different disciplines within the shotgun sport, which is trap shooting, skeet shooting and sporting clays. Unfortunately, our kids only get to practice the trap discipline due to lack of facilities in the area.”

He said if the students place in the other two disciplines they don’t receive a lot of practice in then it’s “a real testament to the kids’ abilities.” 

According to Hathaway, trap shooting features a machine that throws clay pigeons in front of the shooter, while skeet shooting utilizes trap machines located to the left and right of the athlete. The clay pigeons cross each other in midair. Sporting clays, on the other hand, features a golf-life course where shooters walk to different trap machines that can fire from any direction.

The team was started in 2012 by Ben Musgrove and Larry Wingfield, according to Hathaway. 

“It started like most teams do and it’s grown to one of the largest high school shooting teams in the state,” he said.

To prepare for upcoming competition, Hathaway said the kids shoot up to 100 targets a week. They also competed in tournaments every weekend in April.  

The students are trained in gun safety and are part of the USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports (USAYESS) program. 

“They offer a gun safety and gun fitting course. It’s a two-day course, and we go out and learn how to instruct kids properly, how to fit kids into the proper-sized shotgun, how to teach them what their dominant eye is so they shoot with the correct hand,” Hathaway said. “There’s a lot of fundamentals that go into it just like any other sport.” 

The students also learn about ethics and other essential shooting skills, like leaving the chamber open when they are not shooting, and keeping their gun clean. 

The team will attend a state tournament in Seattle at the end of April. They are also set to attend  the Northwest Washington Open in May. 

Although the season officially ends in May, Hathaway said the team plans to compete at the USAYESS National Junior Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas in June. 

Eleven kids from the team are set to compete at the event.

“That’s the most kids we’ve ever taken to nationals, so we’re really excited about the opportunities that are coming,” Hathaway said. “Last year, we had three kids go to nationals and they did really well, as they all brought home awards from it.”

Hathaway said senior Dane Hauge and seventh grader Hunter Gates, who is new to the team, have performed well. Hauge, who is captain, has been shooting with the team since his freshman year. 

“He’s one of those quiet leaders on the team. He’s always one of the first ones there and one of the last ones to leave, always going the extra mile to make sure that the facilities are clean and in good working order,” Hathaway said. “He also always goes out of his way to help new shooters learn the sport, and be confident and excited about it.”

Hathaway said Gates is “a good representation of the Woodland trap team” because of his passion for the sport and how quickly he picked up competitive shooting.

“His progression from September to now is just amazing,” Hathaway said. “He’s one of the most improved shooters on the team, and I’m really looking forward to the next four or five years with these kids because you can see the potential on the horizon for how successful they’re going to be.”



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